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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  July 28, 2012 3:45pm-4:30pm EDT

3:45 pm historian stanley weintraub region of the christmas holiday of 1941 two weeks after the japanese bombing of pearl harbor. stanley weintraub examines america's entry into world war ii and the new wartime reality. it is all little under an hour. [applause] >> my book is called a you heard, "final victory". "final victory" suggests there were nothing but victories in his life. actually that wasn't the case. he did have two terms as a state senator from new york state and became assistant secretary of the navy in world war i and he was chosen to be the vice-presidential candidate on the democratic ticket in 1920 when the democrats were sure to lose and they lost. he lost with them.
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he thought that this would only energize his career. he had national visibility. he was going to go on and do other things but that was 1920. in 1921 he suffered an attack of polio, lost the use of his legs. he was paralyzed from that time on and period we are dealing with now is 23 years into that period of immobility on his part. i don't think the public realized how paralyzed he was. that he had no agility physically liege though he had a good deal of ability verbally. he was a brilliant speaker. he was a brilliant combine your of words and most of the public never knew that he was to used the word then in use, cripples. pictures were not taken of him
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in a wheelchair. pictures were not taken of him using braces or crutches. if they were the press was very discreet. they didn't do such things. the press would be a lot less discreet today. we are now dealing with a roosevelt that the public thought they knew but they didn't really know very well. he gave speeches on radio. there was no television yet. speeches on radio called fireside chats. he had no fire side as he spoke and the people he spoke to listened on their little radios that were not near any fireside either. this was just the make believe that was done in the me the at the time. he gave a tremendous number of press conferences during his presidency. nearly 1,000 press conferences.
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he did so by sitting behind his desk. people didn't realize he sat behind his desk because he couldn't stand up. they just accept it for what it was. he was very astute in what he said. he was warm hearted and humorous. during world war ii when there were problems about prices and shortages he knew exactly what to say and when to say it. for example at one point he tried to stress the prices of things were not very high. just that you couldn't buy them at the wrong times and someone visited me who was a foreman in substantial trade. can you imagine a foreman at a factory coming to visit roosevelt at the white house? he came to me last january and said to me at my old lady is ready to hit me over the head
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with a dishpan. i said what is the trouble? the cost of living. i said what, for instance? last night i went home and the old lady said what is this? i went out to buy some asparagus and the see what i got? i got five sticks and that cost me $1 and a quarter. it is an outrage. when have you been buying asparagus in january? he said i never thought of that. i said tell that to the old lady with my compliments. someone at the press conference that was that the same guy who complained about the price of strawberries? no. that was someone else. they were all make believe but a lot of communication to the public was make-believe. the real communication dealt with more significant matters. for example we went through the worst depression in our history.
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the worst war in our history and he was the president during the both of those and we did very well to get out of them as we did. in 1944 he said we are long past dr. new deal, that is dealing with the social safety net. we have to deal with dr. win the war. this was for a press conference. we dealt with dr. winning the war except there was still a part of the safety net that hadn't been established. the g i bill. the g i bill was fought over in congress in 1944 before the election and many conservatives in congress complained that the g i bill would stifle leverage of returning veterans to go to work. we didn't need it. it was socialism. the g i bill turns out was
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actually drafted, written by a former chairman of the republican national committee who -- for roosevelt. had a hard time getting through congress. roosevelt finally had to appeal to a congressman from georgia who was absent to come and bose and the g.i. bill passed by one vote. possibly the most significant legislation about social mobility in the history of this country. it passed by one vote and it was written by a republican. this socialist legislation. and we have the equivalent in the introduction as you heard, we have an equivalent now. we have what is called obamacare. obamacare was drafted and written by republicans for mitt romney. governor romney's romneycare is
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obamacare with very few words changed but here we are again with another parallel with 1944, the last year, the last full year of world war ii. world war ii in 1944 was not yet a very settled thing. we had been invading islands in the central pacific with the japanese had taken over earlier in the war. we have not yet landed in europe. they d. a. would not be until june 6, 1944. which i remember because my wedding anniversary is the tenth anniversary of d-day. don't know what that says about our marriage but in any case i won't for get the anniversary because it was the date of d day. the results of this unsettled work -- work --war was he had to continue on and the war had to
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be run and the peace effort had to be won. was there someone to take his place? he was not well. he knew he was not well. he didn't know how sick he was but he knew he was not well. on the cover of my book shows roosevelt the way he actually looked in 1944. behind me is a flattering picture of roosevelt supposedly done early in 1945 but it is flattering and looks like a campaign poster. wasn't the roosevelt of reality at that point. roosevelt's colors were too big. his shirt home him. he had lost 19 pounds in the previous year. his wife and his daughter said you really need to get a check up. he said i get a check-up every day. my doctor, the surgeon general
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of the navy, ross mcintyre comes in every day and checks me out. he did. he came in every day. he with dan emt -- emt physician. year, nose and throat. he sprayed his throat. that was what he did. didn't check his blood pressure. he didn't check his temperature. he didn't check anything else. he was a vice admiral in the navy and the surgeon general of the navy so he was a big man who was going to counter what he had to say. never the less because of the bat during of and roosevelt and eleanor roosevelt franklin was taken to bethesda naval hospital. it was almost knew at that time. a newly opened facility. he was taken there in a limousine with his wheelchair,
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his wheelchair was an old kitchen chair with wheels attached. he didn't want to be seen in a conventional wheelchair, hospital type wheelchair because he didn't want to be thought of as a cripple. so he sat in a wheelchair and was pushed along in the kitchen chair. you could see the kitchen chair at the roosevelt memorial here in washington. one of the statues shows him sitting in and you see the wheels on the kitchen share below. barry honest portrait of roosevelt sculptured that way. at bethesda naval hospital they were appalled at his condition. the young doctor from columbia presbyterian in new york who was then a lieutenant commander in the navy was called in as a heart surgeon to look him over and he said roosevelt, very bad shape in beat. he may not live out the year
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unless something is done. the only thing we can do for high blood pressure is digita s digitalis. things have changed a great deal since 1944. he was put on digitalis. he has to be cut down to one cocktail a day. he loved his martinis. he would have children's power which was 5:00. traditionally many adults within the -- would send the children out when they had their 5:00 drinks. roosevelt bargained 2 cocktail and a half each day. he was told he had to give up smoking. you see the iconic cigarette holder in his hand in the portrait behind me. he bargained to five cigarettes a day from two hacks.
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so instead of two packs. and five cigarettes a day. he told his chief assistants i am in down to five cigarettes a day and just as horrible as ever but he couldn't give the mop. was an addiction. he continued that way. some how he survived this additional restriction on him and he was able to continue on. he would have liked to have had somebody take his place as candidate for president and there weren't very many people who were eager to do the job. he was so powerful figure in government he overshadowed everybody else in politics that very few people aspired to that job. jim farley, one time chairman of the democratic party and postmaster general wanted the job but roosevelt didn't feel he was up to the job. another person who wanted the
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job was henry wallace who was vice president but he wasn't going to be given the task of remaining on as vice presidential candidate. he was considered too flaky and that is still another story. a conservative in the south wanted the job was harry bird of virginia. the elder harry byrd. there were two in the senate. in the democratic national convention in mid july 1944 harry byrd carried three 7 states in the convention but when roosevelt carried all the other states the chairman of the convention samuel jackson, the senator from indiana said i would like to declare this unanimous. so of course of all the others changed their votes and he was
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voted unanimously as presidential candidate for a fourth term. he couldn't get anybody interested but he wanted henry kaiser to be a candidate possibly to succeed him. henry kaiser had no political ambitions. no one knew whether he was a democrat or a republican. who was henry kaiser? you may remember him if you are old enough as the industrialist and shipbuilder who built the victory ships and the liberty ships. when i sailed to korea during the korean war which was a few years after world war ii it was only a victory ship with seven bunks high. you didn't want to be on that bottom bunk because of the rocky ocean. you know what would happen to you. in any case those ships continued for many years to be used after the war. kaiser was a brilliant man and a
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brilliant industrialists that no politician. .. and he rented it again in 1948
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and 1952. in 1952 he came reasonably close, but polite eisenhower was the presidential candidate for the republicans than. so roosevelt had a young man, plans to cut 20 years under that he was into looked energetic to run against him. he had a fine to wait -- he had to find a way to look into energetic to. his pictures did not make an look very good. he was in pendleton california, southern california at the time of the democratic convention in chicago. he did not want to be in chicago at the time. in his railway car travelling across the country microphones have been set of, several
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reporters and camera and were allowed in to listen to the speech until his portrait. the picture taken of him that made him look so haggard that he nearly lost the election for him. he is lucky he was alive. that morning, the morning that he gave his a acceptance speech a little later on he called to a marine major, his son, at camp pendleton. come help me. i have terrible pains. i opened the book with that episode of flashback. he had had what apparently was seated. his doctor was in another part of the train. never told him. limey down. me down on the floor. he laid them down on the floor. he said after a while, i am
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beginning to feel better. help me up. he was assisted. travel to the camp pendleton area where the maneuvers were going to take place for marines to practice the invasion of japan. it was at those maneuvers. looked okay then. his speech was rather ragged in accepting the nomination. he needed to show some effort of physical strength. he traveled to hawaii. he visited pearl harbor. he visited other places in hawaii. he met general macarthur.
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they discussed the future of the war deliberately troubled hospitals in a conventional wheelchair so he can see the troops and they could see them. what the troops have been disabled to see that he was a guy who have overcome such disability. it was a rare occasion that people saw him like that. i don't think any pictures were allowed. that wasn't -- no pictures taken. he went from hawaii to alaska. he visited the aleutian islands, a casket, and at two, the tuition is it -- the two aleutian islands captured by the japanese . but when they were occupied by american troops they found two dogs have left -- to dogs had been left behind with the japanese. those two dogs became of very strange element of the campaign
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after that. the seattle area from alaska traveling about 14,000 miles. this is a very sick man traveling 14,000 miles going out in small boats and fishing in someone. pictures taken show them doing this. the problem became that he not only made another speech, this one from the naval base that sounded bad. he was exhausted from the strict . based in these talks. he had left behind his unsteady. one of the aleutian islands millions of dollars to go off. this was used by republican
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congressman to raise hell for having abused the defense forces . that was untrue. gave the terrific campaign issue. the result was that the first major speech he gave when he returned from his long trip was a dinner group in washington d.c. i believe it was the teamsters union annual convention. he talked. he said, toward the end of the speech, he was a very good orator. i don't resent attacks and my family doesn't resent the tax. you know, being a study, as soon
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as he learned that the republican in congress had concocted a story that i left him behind. it sent a destroyer back to find him. it cost the taxpayers to wear three or eight or $20 million. he was furious. had not been the same docks since. well, this as far as the reporters and other listeners were concerned, roosevelt is back. this was the old roosevelt. he determined to take not the fellow speech, he did not repeat that. everybody knew about that. he determined to take his campaign vigorously to some of the big cities. he went to new york, first of all. he went again in his train. they green packard convertible was with him. they took the packard out of the frame. he was lifted into it, of course, unseen by the public.
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he traveled for 51 miles. all the boroughs of new york and s.i. in pouring rain and bitter cold waving his saudi fedora to the thousands -- millions, literally, of viewers. people were just amazed at his remarkable stamina to deal to do this. of course, that remarkable stamina was an adrenaline rush, but he did. he then went on to philadelphia ended the same thing. again, and pouring rain, crossing the river. also campaigning there. then chicago, the democratic boss, mayor kelly, said you have got to come to chicago. you have got to show the midwest that you are vigorous and able to be president for another four
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years. and so he got on a train again and went to chicago. chicago, the weather was even worse. this was not toward the end of october. he went to soldier field which not yet -- which was not yet the home of the chicago bears as it is now. over 100,000 people. there were at least 100,000 more outside. a cold wind blew in from lake michigan. the temperature was nearly zero. he drove in to soldier field up on a platform. they were microphones. and he spoke from his car to the crowd outside. they were amazed at his vigor. he would learn to point out that what was very important to keep
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this safety net, the social net open and available for the returned veterans, but it was very important to have the amenities they needed, not just the full freedoms he had enunciated earlier, but economic freedoms and the public was, again, maystadt his vigor, his vitality. that still wasn't enough. because there were rumors spread by the other side. house always spread rumors about dance. he was a dying man. of course they could not prove it. but he then went to boston. and the home of the boston red sox, he spoke again. one of the people who introduced him was orson welles who was then a major star. frank sinatra sang america the
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beautiful. frank sinatra, by that time, was not only a hero, but he had a sun whom he named franklin roosevelt sinatra. one does not realize that because later on sinatra, as she became wealthier, also changed his party designation. as a result, frank sinatra jr. came along. that is, the sun changed his name and became frank sinatra jr. so we forget that earlier history. but roosevelt returned to hyde park just before the election feeling that he had done very well. he did. currently he was helped by the soldier vote. i have a whole chapter in the book on the soldiers out. how did they vote? were there restricted in any way from voting? we have problems now in the current election season of
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attempts made to restrict the flow because you want to restrict the vote of people who are likely not to vote your way. and in this case soldiers might have voted for the commander in chief. and so if they were being restricted in congress and all kinds of ways, absentee ballots. nevertheless, absentee ballots were fought through on four and a half million soldiers and sailors and marines. it was a tremendous number. they were able to vote all kinds of means reviews for communicating with them and getting the absentee ballots back. later on i became the elections officer, the voting officer for my outfit in. during the korean war. i found out what was done for absentee ballots. ahead to countersign the back of the envelope after they seal the
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with my name and rank and serial no. so that they would consider it a legitimate. soldiers did much the same thing in europe and in the pacific in world war two. i wanted to put in something about the soldier vote. there was a whole chapter on it. and number of people helped me interview veterans about how they voted. many veterans, especially sailors said that i voted for roosevelt because he was a navy man and that puzzled me at first because a navy man, yes, he was assistant secretary of the navy during world war one. he was a navy man. he wanted very much to join the marines and go over and fight, but woodrow wilson would not let him. he said, we need you here. we need to get home as assistant secretary. so he went over toward the end of the war to inspect the troops
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and see what he called. but he never was in a fighting situation. he was a navy man. they voted for him. a lot of troops voted the other way. they voted the other way. that is the way my family voted. they really did not know much about either candid. and roosevelt was the overwhelming favorite because they knew he was. so one chapter deals with the soldier vote. another chapter, check my time. i think we are okay. another chapter deals with an advance in the election season that is reminiscent of other election seasons. was the party that was an unpatriotic? was it unpatriotic and in what way was it a bit traffic? roosevelt or his government at least had imprisoned the
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secretary of the communist party in 1940 for violations. he had used a fake. in 1942 he pardoned broader because it was a gesture toward russia, toward stalin who was then our ally. we might not have wanted him as an ally, but we needed him and he was there. this was gesture. the result was the republicans attacked roosevelt and said that the person who is going to sit at roosevelt side if he is reelected is for a broader. this was, of course, nonsensical. nevertheless, it was declared and the people accepted this. the other problem was that roosevelt was unpatriotic because he had failed us at pearl harbor. he knew what had gone on and let pearl harbor happened.
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conspiracy theories are very common. we love conspiracies. we read about them all the time in newspapers and listen and watch about them on tv. the idea was that the president and his advisers knew that the japanese military code had been broken before pearl harbor and we did nothing about it. that was not true. we have broken the diplomatic code before pearl harbor, and we knew a week or ten days before pearl harbor that the japanese were going to break diplomatic relations with us. that very likely man to conflict general marshall and admiral cain -- i'm sorry, admiral leahy send out messages to all of the major posts in the pacific.
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this is a warning. it looks like the japanese may attack. be on the alerts 24 / seven. this was sent on november 27. pearl harbor was december 7th. nobody was on the alert, despite these cables. no one was on the alert. in fact, admiral kimmel and general shirt who were in charge of pearl harbor were planning to play golf on saturday -- on sunday morning at 8:00 5 minutes before 8:00 the japanese attacked. they did not play golf. they also were not on the alert. general macarthur in manila was asleep in his bed. he did not believe it when he was told about the attack. pearl harbor, the could not have done it. it could not have gone that far. of course within hours manila was attacked. the beginnings of the invasion
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had occurred. that was the diplomatic code that was broken. we did not break the military code until after pearl harbor, but it did result in our victory at midway because we did know japanese movements at midway by that time. nevertheless, tom dewey wanted to attack roosevelts for having known about the military events. what was the president going to do? he felt helpless. he wasn't going to do a thing but let it happen. general macarthur -- i'm sorry, general marcher -- general marshall intervened. got a message to do we through an envoy, physically sending somebody to have saying that, you are all wrong. if you break the news that we have now broken the military code this will be a great advantage to the germans and the
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japanese because the ambassador of japan in berlin is sending messages constantly to tokyo about what he is learning from hitler about movements of the germans. he is sending it in because we have broken, but they don't know we have broken them. dooley said, i really don't believe you, but i have no evidence otherwise. he spoke with his advisers, and they said it is too dangerous. you better stop it. and so there was never any effort to attack roosevelts for having known the coast that were the result of pearl harbor attack. so there are a lot of things in here that we learn, perhaps, for not the first time, but we learn in the context of the election. there is one thing, though, that i find quite fascinating.
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almost unbelievable. but acis and of the campaign scrapbooks which are at the university of rochester library. they kept all letters to the editor, clippings of all sorts, cartoons, everything that was very valuable to me to have those in their scrapbooks. and those curious predictions about the election came in a letter to the editor from a newspaper in syracuse. bertrand was the name of the signer. he wrote that his friend predicted that the president would be reelected by the smallest plurality given him in his four campaigns. that was the smallest popular vote a relative to the other side. it was still a big vote. he also claimed that a new has
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yet unforeseen circumstance will cause both japan and germany to come to their knees literally. 1910. 1910. predicted this in a sense. now, is that a contribution to history? nevertheless, it is so curious that i thought i had to put it in. and so he predicted the electoral vote very closely. roosevelt did when. he received 432 electoral votes to do is 99. that is a big difference. it does not reflect the electoral vote, which is a lot
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closer than that. nevertheless to roosevelt won. do we took a long time until he conceded the election. roosevelt finally heard from him in the early hours of the morning, not that he conceded, roosevelt, but that he conceded he had not won on radio. he was told that by one of his secretaries. roosevelt said, i still think he is a son of a bitch. that was probably his last statement about tom dewey. he was a regulated again on january 20th. is small inauguration ceremony. he was not in good shape. eighty-three -- i'm sorry, 83 days later he died, april 12th , 1945. harry truman became president. let me stop there. if you have questions up be glad
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to answer them. i've taken a lot of your time. thank you for being here. [applause] >> questions to back. >> yes. >> it's hard to see with all these bright lights. can you come closer? >> this new concept, the public not knowing about roosevelt. for example, you could drive the packard up on a platform and just to the speech. how is that in a small group? did people realize what the disability was? how did that 210? >> there was of bank of microphones set up that he can speak from the seat in the convertible.
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on other occasions he stood up to speak. by sleight of hand they have learned how to do this. by sleight of hand his assistance got him up and standing on his braces and back down again that way. people did not realize that he was standing on heavy braces. by the time of the conference in january, fed urey, 1945, he could not wear those prices any more. too heavy and too uncomfortable. he came back and reported to congress. he apologized to the congressman and said, you must excuse me for sitting down because the weight of the braces is too much for me know. that was the first time he had never confessed that in public. people must have known at that point that he would not make a four year term. in the other?
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>> how much does the book discuss the collection of truman? >> i'm sorry? >> how much is the book go into the decision to select a chairman? was that something that fdr himself was involved in? >> the question of how truman became nominated. he turned out to be a great plus on the campaign trail because he was very feisty and did not need to have prepared remarks. he was good at speaking off the cuff. truman was a compromise candidate. there was a compromise because none of the conservative which was then democratic, and it's the same conservative south that had changed party designations, none of them have accepted. on the other hand, james burns who was another person that roosevelt thought of as a vice president, would not have been
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accepted. the liberal north did not want burns. he was a south carolinian, racist, bigoted, and he had also changed his religion. he had been a catholic. the urban catholics would not have accepted him. so burns was out. and who was their left? it turned out that they wanted somebody who would fall between the cracks as they put it, somebody who was the middle of the router did not have a lot of emily -- enemies. that turned out to be harry truman. german did not want the job. he felt that he was going to go into something over his head. besides, his wife didn't want the job taken away from her that she was holding as the secretary in chairman's office. she would lose her job. she had to lose her job anyway. german did not meet roosevelt
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often during the campaign. a couple of times. that was about it. they did not discuss the future. they did not discuss german becoming presidents. determine told one of his friends as they left the white house on one occasion, i had an nightmare that the president had died and i had become president. it was a nightmare. it was nothing he felt was in his ambition. he succeeded, i think, brilliantly as an accidental president. >> i want to thank everyone for coming. i encourage you all to stay if you have additional questions. if you would like to take a look at the book we have copies over year. mr. stanley weintraub will be signing. please stick around and join one more time. [applause] >> you are watching 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books on c-span2 book tv.
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>> what are you reading this summer? book tv wants to know. >> oh, claude shannon, the inventor of affirmation theory. and also, recent books about claude shannon which is by james clark called the information, and by george tyson on touring and shannon. and claude shannon is a great figure from mit and bell labs who i have been following for decades in my guys as a technology group. as i steady telephone and internet hand, you know, this required me to master information theory. i discovered that information theory is perfectly aligned to
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capitalist economics and actually gives a better way of explaining capitalism than the existing models that are based on a false imitation of the terminus physical theory. it -- capitalism is not immaterial system. it is an information system. and just as the key measure of them permission under claude shannon stereo is news or unexpected bits were surprised. so, in capitalism the key factor is profit, which is the surprising upside of entrepreneurial creativity. and so i'm studying information theory. these books


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